MissionViejo.com – MISSION VIEJO – The city is on track to start a $7.8 million renovation of the Marguerite Aquatics Center after the Summer Olympics, a move that could help bring the home of the world-renown Mission Viejo Nadadores swimming and diving club back to its glory days.
The improvements to the aging complex will include replacement of the only dive tower in Orange County. The new tower will feature 12-foot-wide platforms, which will make it the only facility in the West Coast capable of hosting synchronized diving competitions, city officials said.
“We will have the best outdoor diving platforms in the United States,” said Jim Montrella, a Nadadores board member who was an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic Team in 1976. “I expect that we will host more swimming and diving competitions not only of the beginning and the medium level but of the national and international level.”
Construction is scheduled to begin in September and is expected to take 1 1/2 years to complete, Assistant City Manager Keith Rattay said. That gives Nadadore swimmers and divers time to train at the complex for the upcoming Olympic trials in June and July.
More than a half century ago, Mission Viejo Co. designed its master-planned community around sports and recreation to attract young families to the end of the road in Saddleback Valley.
The epitome of the developer’s endeavor was the Marguerite Aquatics Center and its tenant, the Nadadores.
Featuring an eight-lane 50-meter pool, a 25-meter pool with a 10-meter dive tower and a shallow training pool for children, the complex was one of the premier aquatic facilities in the country when it opened in 1972, Montrella said.
The elite Nadadores club has produced Olympic champions, including Greg Louganis and Brian Goodell, and hosted world-class meets, putting Mission Viejo on the map. The club’s success was inspirational for other sports and help turned Orange County into a hotbed for Olympians.
However, the 44-year-old complex has deteriorated, showing visible wear and tear.
Although the complex still meets the minimum standards for national and international competitions, it lacks additional features that newer facilities have and sanctioning bodies are looking for, Montrella said.
The City Council in June approved a proposal to improve nearly everything at the center, including all the pools, the decking and the dive tower. The Nadadores, the primary user of the center, pledged to contribute $1.36 million toward the project.
The council is scheduled to discuss the city’s funding agreement with the Nadadores at its Feb. 23 meeting, City Manager Dennis Wilberg said.
The city has hired Aquatic Design Group to develop the design and working drawings of the new facilities. The proposed dive tower will be 46 feet tall and have a lockable access gate from either the rear or side of the tower base, according to the latest design presented to the council.
The tower will have 10-meter, 7-meter, 3-meter and 1-meter platforms.
The pools will have larger deck and spectator space, as well as more teaching stations for lessons.
“Now we’ll be able to do more,” Montrella said. “The upgrade is going to improve the opportunity.”